Three Simple Financial Skills To Learn In 2015

Did you read our blog post on personal finance New Years resolutions, think “But these are haaaaaard,” and then just ignore them?

First of all, how dare you?

Second, well fine then! We made a quick list of some even easier financial resolutions you can make,

Balance your checkbook

A lot of people think that balancing your checkbook only refers to keeping track of the checks that you write.


Balancing your checkbook isn’t just about checks; it’s about keeping track of ALL of your financial transactions.

In fact, the most difficult part of keeping this resolution is getting into the habit of writing everything down. The only way for balancing your checkbook to work correctly is if you’re accurately tracking everything.

Then it’s just a simple matter of comparing your ledger against your bank statement. It’s a great way to check for any errors the bank may have made, and helps you keep yourself constantly up to date with your finances.

Learn to calculate a tip in your head

If you don’t know how to calculate a tip in your head, you basically have three options:

1. Have someone else at the table handle it, which puts you at their mercy, so you’re not going to do that.

2. Bust out your phone to use the calculator, which you’re not going to do, because, come on, you’re not gonna do that, which leaves you with just one option:

3. Wing it. Just pick a number that feels right and put it down. Could be too much, could be too little. Don’t know, don’t care.

The thing is, though, calculating the tip in your head is VERY easy. Here’s a breakdown.

The simplest percentage to figure out is 10%. All you have to do is move the decimal point in the price one space to the left. So a 10% tip on a bill of $45.93 comes to $4.59.

And if you want to tip 20%? Just move the decimal over one space and then double the result. Have terrible service? Move the decimal over and cut the result in half. Boom, 5%.

Do your own taxes

Ah, taxes. The annual ritual that all Americans have the shared pleasure of completing before April 15.

Here’s the thing: If you’re someone who has a family, or owns a business, or has some unique financial situation, then, yes,  you may want to get a little help with your taxes.

On the other hand, if you’re single and just have your basic 9-5 job, your taxes aren’t going to be that complicated.

You can easily complete them on your own with the help of a free federal filing service like TurboTax, which also has the option to file your state taxes for a small fee.

However, if you feel like doing the whole thing for free, use Turbo Tax for your federal return, and then a government filing service for your state return. A little Googling should help you find your state’s service.

The only issue with doing it that way is that you basically have to input everything twice. It can be a bit of a pain, but that’s more money for you in the end.